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Villa On A Run Shocker!

Aston Villa
1 - 0
Charlton Athletic

Villa Park


Attendance: 30 023


I was listening to the local radio in my car on the way home from the match - with the heating full on to warm my frozen carbuncles - and a Villa fan came on and summed the 90 minutes up perfectly.

'In no way spectacular, but we got the three points'. A great summary, what else needs to be said? 3 points, a team that has been struggling, a crowd that was nervous, rewarded with a home win. And with tough away games against Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers in the next few weeks, not to mention a home tie against Manchester United, those 3 points could prove invaluable.

At times it was a tense, scrappy, nervous type of game, but strangely, Villa always seemed fairly in control despite the fact both teams looked short on confidence, which judging by recent results, is hardly surprising.

Villa started quickly out of the blocks and piled on the pressure for the first ten minutes, but Charlton soon started to get some of the ball and despite our quick start we failed to exploit the early possession by creating any real clear cut chances. The first half seemed to slowly descend into an average game with neither team truly testing the opponents keeper. Villa edged the half but both teams went in at 0-0, I'd have thought Curbishley being the more relieved of the two bosses.

The second half took up a similar pattern. Villa at times zip the ball around nicely, but all too often they choose to hoof the ball forward, which makes no sense, especially when you have a striker of Phillip's stature against a defender like Hermann Hreidarsson who must be 6'2' and towered our man! We just don't seem to have the shape right in order to exploit the passing game and create chances for Baros or Phillips. This long ball will never work, not with the quality of players we have, we should be able to get behind defences far more than we do.

Baros hit the crossbar when he really should have been celebrating a goal in front of the Holte End after Charlton's keeper Stephan Andersen miss judged a cross. The keeper, who I know nothing about, really did look out of sorts as he flapped about more than a flock of birds that flap a lot whilst migrating to Flapsville! At that time you couldn't help feel the game was going to remain 0-0. BUT, up popped Steven Davis gathering the rebound and shooting a screamer into the top right hand corner of the goal. Job done. A superbly finished goal which will have added another million to the midfielders price tag should Sir Alex Ferguson come knocking! The relief at Villa Park was tangible. Roy Aitkin jumped six foot into the air, O'Leary looked like he nearly smiled (!) and the crowd went barmy. YES, the three points did mean that much. It also meant, come full time, that Villa had recorded their first back to back wins in twelve months and with Doncaster on Tuesday (Carling Cup), who knows, we might even go mad and make it three!

Long term, performances like this have to be improved upon if Villa expect to attract more than the lowly 30 023 crowd, but today, who cares? We got the points, we've climbed slightly away from the relegation threatened clubs and although there is still a long way to go to ensure survival - let alone an outside chance of fighting to catch the European chasing pack - we'll take the win and have a smile. It may only just paper over the obvious cracks, but sometimes you just have to take what you are given and be thankful.

Star Player

Gareth Barry. See ratings below.

Player Ratings

Sorenson 5

Not really tested, but seemed to take part in the 'who is the worst kicker of the ball contest' with Stephan Andersen.

Mellberg 8

Crunching tackles and no messing. The classy defender is back.

Ridgewell 7

Did nothing wrong that I could see.

Bouma 4

Dire. What were those free kicks about? With the Holte End asking 'what the f**king hell was that' after one mystifying free kick. I'm sure he is Shrek's brother, and if he continues to play like that, we may just as well replace him with donkey!

Hughes 6

Dependable, although he has started to pass back and not make forward runs. I assume this must be what he is being told to do and that is a worry. Either that or he was still fighting for match fitness after only just recovering from surgery. Will continue to be a very solid player for Villa though.

Barry 9

My man of the match. Some Villa fans seem to be blind to his contribution, I think he is class and with better coaching and a more settled position, he could get even better. Had an interesting battle with Charlton's Young and came out the winner 9 times out of 10.

Steven Davis 8

As I've said before, he battles, if he loses the ball he will fight to get it back and now he has added goals to his game, he is a very exciting prospect. Remember he is still learning at this level, he has the world at his feet and he could become a Villa legend. Lets just hope we can match his ambitions and keep him. Not sure why the bloke behind kept calling him Dave though!

McCann 7

Given man of the match by today's sponsors. He was good, but not quite THAT good! Still, you can usually depend on him to do the dirty work; and that is vital to any team. Didn't seem to disappear today either.

Millner 7

I wish he was ours permanently. Enough said.

Baros 7

He looked lively and dangerous, although I'm sure he'll not know how he missed his main chance. Looked to most Villans that he should have had a penalty as well as he was brought down in the box, but ref Mark Clattenburg apparently knew better. I'll look forward to watching the replay.

Phillips 6

Had to come too deep to get the ball, no real supply, no real chances. Sound familiar? We have got to start creating chances for these highly skilled strikers.

Moore for Baros

91st minute to waste a few seconds.

Manager Rating

Not out of the woods yet, still plenty to work on, but two wins out of two, you can't argue with, although on the other hand, should a club of our size really go 12 months without back to back wins? Didn't think so. Should get his wish to be judged in the new year, but if a new consortium ever do take Villa over, I'd not like to bet on him remaining. Should have brought on a couple of subs in the 70th-80th minute to get some fresh legs on, Moore and Hendrie would have been ideal.

Opponent Rating

I'd think Charlton need to go back to the drawing board. Matty Holland looks a pale shadow of his former self, in fact, I didn't realise he was on the pitch until the second half, and the only player of any real note was Alexei Smertin, who really did look a class above the rest. I must say that Jerome Thomas looked like he had a decent turn of pace, BUT he didn't have enough belief in himself to take players on, if he had, he might just have surprised himself. I was also shocked to see Murphy on the bench, always looks quality to me.

My Day?

Brilliant, met up with three old friends. Had a great chat and a laugh and a mighty fine hot turkey sarnie. Oh, and I've tipped the scales three stone lighter than I did last February. Now that did put a smile on my face, Rachel Stevens, here I come!

News just in

Rachel Stevens has taken out a court injunction to prevent a newly lighter bald guy from coming!

Girl Who Sat Behind Me

Phwoar. She's mine Dave, hands off!

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Saturday November 26 2005
Time: 8:40PM


Ok. watched the replays on Sky. Maybe Barry at 9 was a little ott, but still man of the match. The goal by Davis gets better every time you look at it, but I still can't see how Baros missed the first chance! And Charlton's keeper pulled off a good save from a Baros shot in the first half (after Kevin Phillips performed acrobatics to keep the ball in and tee up his strike partner)
The Fear
26/11/2005 23:13:00
Ok. watched the replays on Sky. Maybe Barry at 9 was a little ott, but still man of the match. The goal by Davis gets better every time you look at it, but I still can't see how Baros missed the first chance! And Charlton's keeper pulled off a good save from a Baros shot in the first half (after Kevin Phillips performed acrobatics to keep the ball in and tee up his strike partner)
The Fear
26/11/2005 23:13:00
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